Dear Consumer Reports

From an email I sent, just because: 

“Dear CU:

I bet you won’t print this one! But maybe you can respond to me personally.

Check this out

CU itself is a bad actor when it comes to magazine subscription renewals.

I get misleading requests that my subscription is about to run out when it actually has months, as many as six months to go! And if I am not on my toes I could easily be fooled into a premature renewal and extension of my subscription.

This is a very misleading practice.

You say everyone does it, which is true. You say that it’s part of your business model and it really works to maximize renewals, which is also true.

But it still very misleading bordering on deceitful and I bet you would call out another company for something similar or even less evil – for example, a simple typo in an advertisement which is a clearly sloppiness but not purposely deceitful.

What say you?

Pito Salas, longtime subscriber.”

Rhapsody vs. iTunes

I think I might be entering a new phase in my music listening. I listen to a ton of music, on my iPhone, on my computer, in my car, all the time. And up to now it’s always been downloaded (purchased) music that I organize manually within iTunes. ¬†From time to time I’ve had subscriptions to eMusic and similar services.

As a result I have a huge number of tracks on my computer and on my iPhone. And as my music taste develops, and I discover new artists and composers, lots of those tracks are listened to rarely.

The alternative services like Rhapsody, which has been around for a while. But I didn’t like the idea of paying $10 per month to ‘rent’ music to listen to. Without owning it I would ‘lose’ the music if I ever cancelled the subscription. I would be tied to this $10 subscription forever.

Lately I’ve been trying the various streaming products like Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog, and various others. From those that I’ve tried I still like Rhapsody the best. Rhapsody is the only one that organizes music into genres so that I can browse through for example, 20th Century Classical. The other ones seem to be focused more on current popular music, which I don’t really listen to.

And I feel a sea-change coming in my own listening. I am really liking Rhapsody. I am playing more variety. Yes, even among my 10,000 or so tracks on my disk I was finding myself repeating the stuff I liked best. With Rhapsody I can go spelunking through a category I don’t know that well (e.g. Jazz Blues) and discover new music. I can have a playlist playing all afternoon of music that I like that I never heard before.

And who cares about ‘owning’ a track anyway?